Shaping a trilateral as Rome looks to the Indo-Pacific

ForumIAS announcing GS Foundation Program for UPSC CSE 2025-26 from 10th August. Click Here for more information.

SourceThe Hindu

Relevance: India-Italy-Japan trilateral and Indo-Pacific are important topics in International Relations

Synopsis: India-Italy-Japan trilateral cooperation has the potential to improve Indo-Pacific.

India in Indo-Pacific:

One of the signs of India’s growing centrality in the Indo-Pacific strategic architecture is its burgeoning engagement with key western nations.

The growth of India’s weight in Indo-Pacific affairs came after India recognised that complex regional geopolitical problems cannot be addressed adequately by rigid and structured traditional alliance frameworks. So India is engaging in new alliances such as Quad.

Italy’s outreach in Indo – Pacific:

Even countries that have been lackadaisical in their regional outreach have also begun to approach the Indo-Pacific with a new seriousness and have been reaching out to India.

  • Recently, Italy has become more vocal on the risks emanating from China’s strategic competitive initiatives. For instance, the Italian Prime Minister described Chinese competitive practices as “unfair” and invited the European Union (EU) to be franker and more courageous in confronting Beijing on its violations of human rights.
  • Italy has also begun to signal its intention to enter the Indo-Pacific geography. It has done so by seeking to join India and Japan in a trilateral partnership.
    • This initiative comes after years of Rome’s relative absence from the geopolitical affairs of the region.
    • Recently, the India-Italy-Japan trilateral was organised by the Italian embassies in India and Japan. During that, they reiterated the responsibility of keeping the Indo-Pacific free and open, and working for the welfare of its inhabitants falls on like-minded countries within and beyond the region.

Advantages of India-Italy-Japan collaboration:

  • A strategic trilateral between India, Italy, and Japan has, in the medium to long term, a lot of potentials. Their compatible economic systems can create a virtuous and mutually beneficial contribution to the reorganization of the global supply chains.
  • At the multilateral level, the three countries share the same values and the same rules-based world view.
  • At the security level, the well-defined India-Japan Indo-Pacific partnership can easily be complemented by Italy. It is already present in the western Indian Ocean where it is engaged in anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia.

Suggestions to improve the Indo-Pacific region:

  • The Italian government must formulate a clear Indo-Pacific strategy. It must indicate its objectives and, above all, the means and initiatives it is willing to implement on its own and in cooperation with its partners. Further, robust India-Italy strategic ties can be the first step towards the realisation of this goal.
  • The India, Italy, and Japan trilateral initiative can, and should, be a forum to foster and consolidate a strategic relationship between these three countries, and specifically expand India-Italy bilateral relations.
    • Italy and Japan maintain a historically strong relationship. Similarly, India and Japan are strategic pillars of the free and open Indo-Pacific. So, trilateral cooperation can be the right forum for India and Italy to learn more from each other’s practices and consolidate a strategic dialogue.
    • To consolidate trilateral cooperation, the three countries need to define a common economic and strategic agenda.

Terms to Know: 

Print Friendly and PDF